Following on from two story-driven premium titles, I’ve decided to mix things up a bit by making the third entry in this little rundown a free-to-play roguelike. This one takes the simplest of premises and enemies – the otherwise unthreatening slime – and gradually evolves both to the point where it easily cements itself as one of the best games we’ve seen all year.
Kinghts & Slimes
Knights & Slimes’ 5 stages each play out across 10 smaller levels, almost all of which can be bested in under a minute. Hitting a slime with your weapon will result in it splitting in two, leaving you with double the enemies to take on. Though each time you do land a successful blow, the resulting slimes will be half the size of the original. Therefore there will eventually come a point where they’ve been whittled down to nothing.
Attacks are automatic, so you should instead focus on safely traversing each arena or dodging any slimes you’ve just sent skyward. If a slime does happen to touch any part of you that isn’t your weapon, you’ll be sent straight back to the start of the stage. Death can arrive extremely quickly given the sheer number of multiplying enemies on screen, and so it’s a relief that every level usually contains powerful special weapons, such as a heavy axe or long-range bow, to help turn the tide of battle.
New slime variants are doled out gradually enough that it never becomes too complicated or annoying to remember the specific way each of them can be defeated, and bosses present an especially sizeable challenge, always arriving on time to keep you on your toes.
The pixel art, fit with wobbly slime animations, looks great, and the suitably retro soundtrack is endearing and not too sharp on the ears. The themed stages range from snowy planes to lava-spewing mountains; again, all looking and sounding stellar. And so it’s overall a great and generous little game, with a smart premise that it explores skilfully and thoroughly.